CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS
Here are my current Giveaway Contests
THE PRINCESS AND THE PAGE through April 22nd
Natalie Lakosil Query Critique and THE STAR THIEF through April 22nd
Happy Easter Giveaway Hop through April 30th
Tracy Marchini Query Critique through April 29th
THE WINGSNATCHERS through May 4th
Lauren Spieller Query Critique through May 13th
Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways
Loren Oberweger on 5/10/2017
Alyssa Jennette on 5/24/2017
Bibi Lewis on 6/12/2017
Kelly Van Sant on 6/21/2017
KATHY MACMILLAN INTERVIEW AND SWORD AND VERSE GIVEAWAY
Now I have a job I really love (although it doesn't pay well) as a part-time contract nonfiction writer for attorney websites, have adjusted to Anna Li's move to college and watched her blossom as an adult, and am in a relationship with a great new guy who makes me happy. I can't believe how good life has become. It's SO amazing!! I'm really looking forward to more happiness and good things in 2016! I hope you are too.
I wanted to read the ARC but have not been able to load it onto my new Amazon Fire from Edelweiss. Anyone know how to do this? I'd appreciate the help.
Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:
Raisa was just a child when she was sold to work as a slave in the kingdom of Qilara. Despite her young age, her father was teaching her to read and write, grooming her to take his place as a Learned One. In Qilara, the Arnathim, like Raisa, are the lowest class, and literacy is a capital offense. What’s more, only the king, prince, tutor, and tutor-in-training are allowed to learn the very highest order language, the language of the gods. So when the tutor-in-training is executed for teaching slaves this sacred language, and Raisa is selected to replace her, Raisa knows any slipup on her part could mean death.
Keeping her secret is hard enough, but the romance that’s been growing between her and Prince Mati isn’t helping matters. Then Raisa is approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slave rebels—to help liberate Arnath slaves. She wants to free her people, but that would mean aiding a war against Mati. As Raisa struggles with what to do, she discovers a secret that the Qilarites have been hiding for centuries—one that, if uncovered, could bring the kingdom to its knees.
Hi Kathy! Thanks so much for joining us.
1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.
I am a librarian, storyteller, and an American Sign Language interpreter in addition to being a writer. I guess you could say I love language! In the early 2000s, I was active in the Harry Potter fandom as one of the administrators of the Sugar Quill (http://sugarquill.net/). I also wrote a LOT of fanfiction. Writing fanfiction gradually morphed into writing original fiction.
2. Harry Potter got me into writing too. Where did you get the idea for your book?
While researching for an article on book burning, I came across a reference to ancient libraries composed entirely of letters. I scribbled in the margin of my notebook, “What if they were letters to the gods?” The Library of the Gods was the starting point of the story.
3. What an awesome way to get a story idea. The reviews of your book really praise the depth of your world building. Share about how you developed Raisa’s world and any tips for other writers trying to create a new world for their stories.
87 revisions. I’m only kind of kidding here. The original manuscript was a very different story, though Raisa and Mati and the language of the gods were always at the center of it, and it always dealt with the question of who controls knowledge. With every revision, the world expanded and came into clearer focus. I now have a 63-page chart detailing everything from the average rainfall in Qilara to the population demographics of the various cities. I’ve also found a couple of books that have been a great resource for this detailed world building. I write about them here: https://kathymacmillan.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/scary-starts-and-fictional-census-results/
4. Okay, you're making me feel better about admitting I revised my first book for about 10 years. I loved how you made the stakes so high and difficult for Raisa: help the slaves like her and stay faithful to Prince Mati who she loves. How did you build on your stakes and keep the tension mounting?
Can “87 revisions” just be my answer to everything? :D One of the challenges with this story was
5. She sounds like a fantastic character I want to get to know. Are you a pantser or plotter and why do you think that works for you?
I think I am a combination. I usually start out doing a lot of research and world building, making tons of notes, and focusing on the characters and their backstories. I do make an outline of sorts, but it’s not so detailed that I consider myself a true plotter. Usually when I start a first draft, I have a good idea of the emotional beats of the story, but not of the plot itself. The first draft, for me, is all about figuring out the characters and how they relate to each other. Plot is something to be cleaned up later. As I write, there are many turns that come up that I don’t anticipate. In fact, there is a moment near the end of Sword and Verse that several readers have cited as their favorite moment in the book, when Raisa does something that surprises everyone around her. While I was writing it, I was just as surprised as the characters in that scene, because I’d had no idea she was going to do that either!
6. I'm a combination too. Your agent is Steven Malk. Share how he became your agent and your road to publication.
I’d been steadily submitting to agents since 2002, and had racked up lots of rejections. Sword and Verse was the fourth novel I submitted to various agents. In 2008, I read a Writer’s Digest article about new agents looking for clients, and one of them, Lindsay Davis at Writers House, looked like a great fit for me and my book. So I submitted to her and she said she’d like to work with me to revise it. Then, several months later, she moved out of the country and Steven Malk, the senior agent with whom she had been working, took over. Steven represents so many amazing authors and illustrators – I probably never would have had the guts to query him directly. (Though he tells me that’s ridiculous.)
7. That's awesome he took over for Lindsay. I read on your website about your launch party, and it’s a really different way to do it. Tell us about it and why you chose to do it that way.
Since 2001, I have been involved with a wonderful non-profit organization called Deaf Camps, Inc. (https://deafcampsinc.wordpress.com/), which provides completely accessible camps for Deaf children and American Sign Language camps for new signers. I knew I wanted to have a big party for my launch – this has been a long time coming, and I want to celebrate! - and what better recipient of party love than the organization I adore? So I am putting on a gala fundraiser event to benefit Deaf Camps, Inc.’s scholarship program – a fancy dinner, book signing, silent auction, and everything will be completely accessible in American Sign Language and English. Sword and Verse is all about communication and access to knowledge, so it feels especially fitting to celebrate its launch in this way.
8. That's SO fantastic! What’s something that has surprised you about the publication process?
How long it takes, and how much waiting is involved. Sword and Verse will be published 10.5 years after I started submitting it, and 7 years and 6 days after that first email from Lindsay Davis.
9. I admire how you stuck with it given how long it took to get your book published. What are you working on now?
I am working on the follow-up to Sword and Verse. Many people have been excited about the fact that Sword and Verse is a standalone, and it does function as a complete story in itself. I had never intended to write a sequel, but these characters, apparently, weren’t done with me. The second book picks up not long after the first one ends, and it is from the point of view of Soraya Gamo. The story deals with the consequences of the choices made in the first book.
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Kathy. You can find Kathy at:
https://kathymacmillan.wordpress.com/ or on Twitter at @kathys_quill.
Kathy has generously offered an ARC of SWORD AND VERSE for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through January 16th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. This is for US and Canada.
Here's what's coming up:
Next Monday I have a guest post with debut author Monica Tesler Bounders and her agent David Dunton with a giveaway of her MG science fiction BOUNDERS and a query critique by David Dunton.
Friday that week I'll be participating in the Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop. I'll have lots of great books or an Amazon Gift Card for you to choose from.
The following Monday I have an interview with debut author Lois Sepahban and a giveaway of her MG historical fiction PAPER WISHES.
The Monday after that I have a guest post by Gregory Funaro and a giveaway of one book in his MG fantasy Alistair Grim’s Odditorium series.
Hope to see you Monday!
Posted by Natalie Aguirre on Monday, January 04, 2016